Croydon optometrist David Barker has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award. Mr Barker is a director of Rawlings Opticians on Croydon High Street and has been selected as one of three finalists in the Optometrist of the Year category in the AOP Awards 2019.
The awards are run by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) and recognise the highest levels of achievement in UK optics.
Part of Mr Barker’s nomination was for helping to successfully implement enhanced eye care services for the people of Croydon to be managed in their local community for minor eye conditions, cataract and glaucoma.
The COS service means that Croydon residents with certain eye problems can refer themselves, or be referred by their GP, to have their eyes checked for free in a local optical practice at a time more convenient to them. The service also reduces the burden on local hospitals by managing patients in optical practices.
Mr Barker has been involved in the Croydon Local Optical Committee (LOC) for 20 years. In 2009 it successfully won the contract for local enhanced eye care services. He assisted in setting up one of the first LOC companies in 2014 which successfully won the NHS contract to continue and administer the free eye care services.
“I was very proud to be nominated for the Optometrist of the Year in the AOP Awards,” he commented. “It is a reflection of the work we have done in Croydon establishing the Croydon COS scheme which allows me to see and treat patients who see their GP or self-present with various minor eye conditions.”
Mr Barker explained: “Rather than the patient having to wait several months for a hospital appointment, local optometrists can see and treat the patients locally in a much quicker timescale.
“Last year over 6,000 patients were seen under the COS scheme and the vast majority were seen and discharged, with 87% rating the service as ‘excellent’.”
As well as being a full-time optometrist, Mr Barker has qualified as an Independent Prescriber which means he can prescribe medications where necessary. He has also achieved higher qualifications in the medical retina category and glaucoma.
“Working in independent practice for over 22 years, I have constantly strived to ensure that my skills are as up to date as possible to give patients the absolute best service and advice they deserve,” he concluded.
Members of the public are being urged to vote for the Croydon optometrist at https://www.mi-vote.com/aopawards19/
The 2018 AOP Awards attracted over 20,000 votes from both optical professionals and members of the public.
AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman, said: “The AOP Awards give us the chance to celebrate everyday excellence and outstanding achievement in optics and the 2019 shortlist has once again demonstrated how hard our colleagues across the profession work. I hope that patients and practitioners support the 2019 finalists by casting their vote.”
The deadline for voting is 5pm on Wednesday 12 December with the results being announced at a black-tie dinner on Sunday 13 January 2019.
For more information about the Croydon eye care service, visit http://www.croydoneyes.co.uk